Canisius College volleyball player Aimee Claypool (Dayton, Ohio) has been selected to attend the NCAA CHAMPS/Life Skills Continuing Education conference, which will be held February 14-17, 2002, in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort, Walt Disney World.
She is one of only four student athletes in the country to be invited and was selected based on the success of a reading program that she implemented at Canisius College. Claypool was chosen from approximately 300 student-athletes in the fifth annual NCAA Foundation Leadership Conference last May.
As a part of her application to the Leadership Conference, Claypool had to design a service project that she would implement at the school. The senior chose to initiate a reading program at Buffalo's School 74, an inner-city public school.
Every Tuesday, one of the 23 Canisius varsity teams goes to the school and reads to a small group of children ranging in age from pre-K to fourth grade. The athletes spend some time afterwards talking with the kids about leadership and the importance of reading.
"I hope to promote reading to the students of our community," said Claypool. "More importantly, I want the students to look up to us as positive role models. I believe this project gives the students and everyone involved hope for a better tomorrow."
With the help of Canisius College administration as well as overwhelming support from athletes and coaches, the project has been a success.
"Our student-athletes are enthusiastic about the project because they know they have the influence to be positive role models in the community and have a responsibility to embrace that role," said Canisius Director of Athletics Timothy J. Dillon.